Friday, September 18, 2009

Upon visiting Analogue Haven's website today, I saw
a new product announcement for the Acidlab Miami, a dedicated TR-808 clone with
a full complement of sounds, knobs, and even the TR-style step sequencer. What's it like, you ask?
Well, I had seen a couple of pre-production models from the developer, but to see the actual
model for sale is beautiful. It's absolutely gorgeous.

What does it sound like in action? Well, for traditional 808 style electro, like this:

It's all there, the clippy side stick/clave sound, the thwack of the snare, but does it step sequence?
Why yes, it does!

But, of course, unlike a true 808, this has full MIDI implementation, as seen below:

So, how do I feel about this particular product? I will be completely honest with you: I have loved the 808 since before I
knew what an 808 was. Even now, as I'm in my 30s, the 808 sound set, which many call generic,
is like a warm blanket on a cold day, comfortable and familiar. And while there have been about a zillion ways to
get that sound set over the years, from samples, hardware, and software emulation. The 808 sound is out there if
you want it. I have a Jomox Mbase01 that has a beautiful boomy 808 kick, and I also use an R8M from
Roland for the original PCM sound set from the 808. I also have a Korg Electribe ER-1 that
can get a lot of these sounds through analogue emulation. Anyone out there with Reason or Logic can
do a mean emulation in software, and even my ancient Studio Vision sequencing software offers X0X style drum machine

So, who needs this? Well, maybe you. This is the first true clone of the 808 that I've ever seen, just as the
Xbase09 from JoMoX is an absolutely true 909 clone. If you are an owner of the original 808
I would unplug it from the wall, put it in a case (like how Ice T does) and worship it for the rest of your life, but
use a bad boy like M1AM1 on your tracks. It looks rock solid, and it's absolutely slavish to the original sound of
the 808, just like the acidlab is a dead ringer, audio-wise, for the TB303.

If I were doing drum machines in any kind of live performance environment, this would be a no-brainer. If I was LL Cool J,
Sir Mix-A-Lot, Afrika Bambatta, Orbital, Moby, Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk, or anyone else who built their
career on the sound of the 808, I would buy one of these in a heartbeat, and then sell the beloved 808
on eBay for a princely sum from a collector. I'm so cold, aren't I?

The fact is, the 808 to me is a classic. Just like a Minimoog, Prophet-5, Fender Stratocater, or Gibson Les Paul.
The M1AM1, which draws reference to the early 80s "boom chick boom boom chick" electro that emerged from south Florida in
the 80s is pricey, but the new circuits and functionality will take it beyond the capabilities of any 808.
This is likely a very limited edition, and the basslines went up in value fast, so if you have the cash to do
so, get one now. Otherwise, you'll be left with a sea of emulations and imitations. This one's the real deal.


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